• Karla Benzl MD

Foraging Edible Flowers: A Mindful Activity

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

Edible flowers likely exist right in your backyard or community. With the help of adults, kids can identify edible plants to forage. Foraging is the act of finding edible plants, and is a fun activity that cultivates mindfulness. Prior to agriculture, humans sought food through “hunting and gathering.” What a great way to connect with our ancestors! All senses are active while foraging- sight, sound, smell, and touch. Pay attention while you forage, and you will notice the mind focusing on searching, picking, and smelling plants. This activity allows for time outdoors, bonding with kids, and builds a sense of agency. Of course- you need to be sure that the plants are edible and safe to eat. Avoid any areas where pesticides may have been used, and make sure to identify plants correctly. Teach your kids not to forage random plants, as some plants are indeed poisonous and not meant for consumption. This activity is best for ages 5+ so you can best explain the do's and don’ts of foraging.

Here are three edible flowers that are common to gardens:

1) Hibiscus: Hibiscus is a favorite plant in many gardens because it is bright, colorful, and hardy. It is also a favorite flower in herbal teas. In Mexico and other countries, dried hibiscus flowers from calyces of Hibiscus sabdariffa are boiled in water to make “agua de jamaica.” The flower species I’ve seen most often is gardens is

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, which differs slightly from the official Hibiscus sabdariffa. However, both flower species are edible and taste similarly. We forage red hibiscus flowers to make tea or hibiscus syrup (recipe below).

2) Lavender: Who doesn’t love the scent of lavender? This flower is also a favorite in Mediterranean style gardens because it is drought resistant, smells amazing, and is quite beautiful. You can gather the tiny flowers from lavender buds for herbal infusions as well. This flower is known to have calming effects.

3) Rose: Another very common, beautiful flower that can easily be found in gardens. Roses are also hardy plants with herbal properties. Gather the petals for herbal infusions, skin care, and a pleasant scent that everyone is familiar with. You might also notices rose petals are a common ingredient in teas.

After foraging about 2 cups of petals, try making a floral syrup with the following recipe:

                           Flower Syrup 
1) Remove petals from stems and wash thoroughly
2) Boil the petals in water for about 10 minutes with 2.5 cups of water
3) Strain the liquid, discard the petals, and add the liquid back to the pot 
4) Add about half a cup of organic sugar, boil again for about 20 minutes to reduce the liquid 
5) Allow the syrup to cool and store in a jar, refrigerate for future use 

We love to add a tablespoon or so of any of these syrups to bubbly mineral water as a natural “soda.” These syrups can also be mixed into fresh lemonade.

For myself, I like to make lavender or rose petal lattes in the morning with collagen powder.

                         Floral Collagen Latte 

1) ¾ cup of freshly brewed organic coffee
2) 2 scoops of powdered collagen, flavorless
3) 1-2 tablespoons of flower syrup
4) 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 
5) ¼ cup of milk beverage (I used almond milk)
6) Blend, enjoy 

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